A wire fox terrier named Sky took the top prize Tuesday night at the 138th Westminster Kennel Club dog show, in New York City. The win marks the 14th time the breed has won Best in Show at Westminster. No other breed has won more than eight times.
“She has the ‘it’ factor. She owned this night,” said judge Betty Regina Leininger after presenting Sky with the coveted purple and gold ribbon at Madison Square Garden. As the crowd cheered, Sky’s handler, Gabriel Rangel, scooped up the dog in one arm and the terrier leaned forward to give Leininger a smooch.
“Her personality is she loves to kiss people and she connects with everybody,” Rangel said of Sky, a five-year old with a white-and-ginger coat. Other dogs awarded prizes at the two-day event include a bloodhound, a miniature pinscher, and an elaborately groomed standard poodle named Grand Champion Brighton Lakeridge Encore, or Ally.
The big win brings a flurry of activity. On Wednesday morning, Sky will do the rounds of the morning talk shows. In the afternoon, she’ll visit the top of the Empire State Building, and later be served steak on a silver platter at Sardi’s, a famous New York City restaurant. On Thursday, she’s scheduled to make her debut in a Tony-award winning Broadway musical.
“It’s like winning an Oscar,” said Victor Malzoni Jr. of Westminter’s Best in Show prize. Malzoni is one of Sky’s owners.
The Westminster Tradition
Held continuously since 1877, the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is one of the oldest sporting events in the United States, second only to the Kentucky Derby horse race. The first event drew 1,177 dogs. This year’s show saw 2,687 dogs in competition.
Over the years, the show has evolved to include more breeds and special events. Three new breeds were introduced at this year’s competition—the rat terrier, Chinook, and Portuguese Pedengo Pequeno. Also new this year: an agility contest for mixed-breed dogs was held in the days preceding the main event. Top honors in that show went to a 7-year-old Border Collie named Kelso.
Kids Compete, Too
Ashleigh Russell and her dog, a Havanese named Socialite’s En Garde!, won in the Junior Showmanship division. This WKC competition is reserved for young people between the ages of 9 and 18. In this competition it’s handlers, not dogs, being sized up by the judges. The first place winner receives $6,000 in college scholarship money.
TFK visited the show on Monday. Young people and their families came from across the country to take part. Kaycee Klang, 17, of Palm Springs, California, was there with her dog, a Briard named Cagney.
“This is his favorite thing to do. He loves to show,” Klang said when asked how the 6-year-old pup was enjoying the competition. “He’s the laziest dog in the world but the minute he steps in the ring he comes alive.”
Click here to view photos from the show: http://www.timeforkids.com/photos-video/slideshow/2014-dog-show/145466